NBA PLAYOFF PREDICTIONS: ROUND 2

Round 1 Playoff Predictions

By Matt Rochinski, bobcats.com
May 5, 2014

Everybody take a breath! Round 1 of the 2014 NBA Playoffs are over and its on to Round 2, but what an opening round we saw! Five of the eight first-round series went to seven games, with the No. 1 seed in each conference barely escaping. The young, upstart Washington Wizards knocked off the Chicago Bulls and now square off with the East's No. 1 team. The Nets survived in Toronto are out to prove their dominance over Miami in the regular season wasn't just that - regular season dominance. Speaking of the Heat, imagine what the Bobcats series might have been like if Al Jefferson didn't injure himself in the first quarter of Game 1. Does Tim Duncan have one more run in him, or is it time for celebration in Rip City? Will the scoreboard be able to keep up with the Thunder and the Clippers? If Round 2 is anything like Round 1, NBA fans across the globe should be glued to the seats. Oh, and how did our Round 1 predictions play out? Props first to Social Media Coordinator Eryn Gradwell for tying for the early lead with six correct predictions. Our intern Jace Darling also got six right but his tenure as our intern is over, moving Shane Skeary into the mix. Me? I started strong in the East but apparently had no idea of what was happening out West and finished with five correct predictions, as did radio play-by-play announcer Scott Lauer. Our most veteran picker, TV play-by-play announcer Steve Martin didn't fair so well either, picking up just four correct guesses. But its still anybody's game from here, so let's see what happens in Round 2...

2013-14 Game Recaps
Martin: Washington strong where Pacers not. Washington in 5
Lauer: It's been en vogue to bang on the Pacers over the last three months, and it's true that they nearly lost to an eighth seed, but they are a better defensive team than the Wizards.  Roy Hibbert and David West need to assert themselves against Nene and Gortat, as controlling those bigs will lead to an Indiana win.  We've seen it before - greatest can only be achieved by beating adverse situations, and the Pacers can be the latest example of that. Indiana in 6
Gradwell: Indiana didn’t play at the championship level that was expected of them early this season. They barely squeaked past the eighth seeded Hawks in Round 1, so I can’t imagine they can keep their heads above water for much longer. Washington in 6
Skeary: The Pacers can get back to playing to their strengths and get Roy Hibbert back in the rotation. Washington won't spread Indiana out as much as Atlanta did making this an easier series. Indiana in 6
Rochinski: Every year it seems a young, upstart team starts making some real noise in the playoffs. The Wizards have already knocked off the Bulls but I can't help but think the Pacers might have gotten things together in Game 7 against Atlanta. If that wasn't a Pacers wakeup call, I'll eat crow and tip my hat to the Wizards. Indiana in 5

2013-14 Game RecapsMartin: Brooklyn won all four vs. Miami in regular season - three games by one point and one in double overtime. Brooklyn in 6
Lauer: Miami is well rested after their first round sweep of Charlotte.  Brooklyn has to be drained after a wild seven-game series with Toronto.  LeBron won't get slowed down by anyone on the Nets roster, and considering how fresh he should be, I don't see this being much of a series. Miami in 5
Gradwell: For my own homer-based reasons, I’d love to see the Nets continue to put a hurting on the Heat like they did in the regular season. But despite the regular-season sweep, I don’t doubt that this championship team will prevail once more to see another round in the playoffs. Miami in 7
Skeary: Nets have the experience to take Miami to the brink, but LeBron won't be denied. Miami in 7
Rochinski: The Nets did everything they could in the offseason to create their own "Big Three" with Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett joining Deron Williams, but it's Joe Johnson - the Bobcats killer - who could make all the difference in this one. With role players like Andray Blatche, Marcus Thorton, Andrei Kirilenko and, yes, Mason Plumlee, I think the Nets depth is key. Brooklyn in 6

2013-14 Game RecapsMartin: Blazers succeed where the rest fail. Lillard over Parker. And Aldridge over Duncan. Portland in 6
Lauer: Did anyone really feel that the Spurs would lose Game 7 at home to the Mavs?!  They've only dropped nine home games this season.  The Blazers are a fun team to watch, but I'm going with the winning experience of San Antonio over the youth of Portland.  San Antonio in 6
Gradwell: The Spurs made it clear in Game 7 against the Mavs that they plan on sticking around until the very end. With the Blazers being such a young
team, Gregg Popovich will continue to have his team dominate the court. San Antonio in 5
Skeary: San Antonio is a more cohesive unit than Houston. A young Portland squad will push the age-less wonder Spurs to seven games, but I think Tim Duncan rises to the occasion in what could be his final playoff run. San Antonio in 7
Rochinski: A lot of prognosticators are talking about Washington as the young, upstart team that could knock off the first No. 1 seed in 2014, but after watching the first round, I think its the Blazers who have the best shot. I gave Portland little to no chance against Houston, but these guys are legit. If they can hold Dwight Howard and James Harden down, I like their chances against an aging San Antonio squad.

2013-14 Game RecapsMartin: The Clippers have been released by current events. Los Angeles in 7
Lauer: Both the Thunder and Clippers went the distance in their opening round series.  I love the star power in this matchup...Durant and Westbrook, Paul and Griffin!  This is nearly a coin toss.  I'm going with the best player's team...Durant and OKC. Oklahoma City in 7
Gradwell:This is going to be an exciting series to watch. Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan are a force to be reckoned with, but I have a feeling Russell Westbrook and the Durantula will come out on top against Doc Rivers'emotionally-spent squad. Oklahoma City in 7
Skeary: Both teams won critical game sevens, but with Chris Paul hindered by that hamstring injury, I think KD and Westbrook prevail. Oklahoma City in 7
Rochinski: Apparently Steve Martin is the only one who believes in storybook endings with me. This year just has the feel of the Clippers battling through all the adversity and coming out on top. Los Angeles in 6